Siblings

I am home for the Christmas holidays. I caught the early train, in time to babysit Poppy while Clara and her mum takes the boys to see The Wind in the Willows. The 3.06 to Penzance was laden with holiday traffic, bags and overcoats crammed the luggage shelf. Many slept. Today is the shortest day […]

Read More…

Poppy’s birthday

It is Poppy’s birthday today; she is one. She has eaten her first ever slice of cake, and been given a beautiful dress to wear on Christmas Day. This time last year she was hours old, and the Western General Hospital (just off the M4) was snowbound. When Clara and I drove to the hospital […]

Read More…

A poem about a wedding, and a river

Here’s a poem I wrote in the summer for two friends who got married in Ireland. The wedding took place in a house on the Blackwater River a few miles down stream from Lismore. It is a wonderful stretch of tidal river. At high tide it spreads wide like a lake, wide enough to land […]

Read More…

More thoughts on the new year (in no particular order)

Eurozone, future of; European Union, outlook for; Arab World, what happens next (NB: Egypt and Syria)?; Political leaders, are they up to it?; Global economy, will it or won’t it?; Iran and Israel, will they?; sub-Saharan Africa, challenges and opportunities; the US, race for the White House, economic outlook, it’s changing place in the world […]

Read More…

Austerity is more than a media term

The world becomes increasingly complex. The international systems we have created – to regulate the behaviour of states, to regulate commerce, to provide finance for the world, to feed the starving, to make access to information universal – each one, as they are laid down, and inter-connected, makes the world more difficult to understand, and […]

Read More…

How the other half lives

Europeans have been coming to terms with uncomfortable levels of anxiety and uncertainty over the last few months. Prolonged financial crisis has pushed us back in to recession, and has condemned us to more austerity, low growth and lost opportunity. Each week seems to bring a new shade of darkness. What next month will bring – […]

Read More…

2012 could be more difficult than 2011

I have just come off the phone to an acquaintance of mine who lives in Beijing. He is Chinese, and older than me, old enough to have worked for Deng Xiaoping, China’s reforming Leader, during the 1980s. My acquaintance’s career has taken him around the world as a diplomat and an academic and a banker. […]

Read More…